At a time when the NRL is desperate for every dollar it can get its hands on to keep clubs and stakeholders happy, how does the Rugby League Players Association’s threat to boycott the Dally M Medal ceremony punish the governing body?
Fairfax Media understands the NRL has budgeted $500,000 for the awards night at the Star on September 27, but they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank should the RLPA follow through with its mooted boycott.
What better way to stick it up Todd Greenberg and co than saving them the half-million they were planning on forking out for the players to celebrate their achievements over the season.
Who would this action actually punish? The 1000 fans from all clubs that have been invited to attend the night of nights?
Cameron Smith, the president of the players’ association, who is expected to be crowned the runaway winner of the award?
The game’s broadcaster, Fox Sports, whose $1 billion contribution to the sport over the next five years is the main reason why the players stand to receive a 52 per cent increase in pay by 2022?
The wives and girlfriends of the players, sponsors and corporate partners, who will miss out on attending the game’s night of nights?
The RLPA has done a fantastic job in negotiating the offer now on the table from the NRL. But nonsense about boycotting the Dally M, the captain’s call during the finals and World Cup just doesn’t reflect well on the players.
The sad part for the RLPA is there are people inside League Central who find the Dally M threat beneficial to their cause. The NRL is aware there is a chance the players pull the pin and are waiting before making arrangements, such as entertainment, that would leave them out of pocket.
Remember, the NRL recently had a $30 million loan application rejected and is still trying to work out how it is going to fund the clubs because of a cash flow issue. We’re tipping the $500,000 they never budgeted on would come in handy.
New dawn for Lolohea
Wests Tigers five-eighth Tuimoala Lolohea has admitted he “drowned his sorrows” in alcohol during his final months at the Warriors as a way to deal with frustrations over a lack of opportunity across the ditch.
Lolohea, who will shift to fullback next season to accommodate the arrival of Josh Reynolds at five-eighth, has shown glimpses of brilliance as he finds his feet at the Tigers.
The 22-year-old, who has shed six kilograms since linking with Ivan Cleary and the Wests Tigers mid season, has revealed the level of unhappiness during his last days at the Warriors where he was forced to play on the wing in NSW Cup. “I got to a point where I felt that just wasn’t me,” Lolohea said.
New dawn: Lolohea says he turned to alcohol at the Warriors, but hasn’t had to rely on it since joining the Tigers. Photo: Melissa Adams
“I had enough of playing on the wing. I never played on the wing growing up but they chucked me on the wing and first grade and had to stay there. I got the opportunity here to get more involved here and I feel like I’m playing some good footy.
“I was overweight. I was unhappy. I was struggling. Playing reserve grade on the wing probably didn’t help. I was off it a little bit. I’ve lost six kilograms since coming here and each week I’m feeling better on the field. In the first month at the Tigers I was struggling and my weight had a lot to do with it.”
He admitted he turned to alcohol to help him deal with the emotional rollercoaster while at the Warriors, but hasn’t had to rely on it since joining the Tigers.
“I was going through some pretty tough times back home. All the alcohol … all the little stuff it got to me,” Lolohea said. “I was drowning my sorrows in it to be honest. But I’ve been pretty good over here. The things I used to do back home, I don’t do over here. I’m fully focused on my footy here.”
We all know Brad Fittler lives life differently to most. So if you drive past him in the streets and hear some Arabic music blaring from his car, don’t be alarmed. The Lebanon coach has taken it upon himself to learn the national anthem of the team he will be coaching at this year’s rugby league world cup.
Not satisfied with learning the anthem himself, he’s ordered all his players, including Robbie Farah, Michael Lichaa, Tim Mannah and Mitchell Moses, to learn the anthem by the time the world cup rolls around at the end of October. “He’s told me he’s listening to the Lebanon national anthem in his car and learning that, so on game day he’s ready to go,” Lebanon assistant coach Luke Burt said. “I’m struggling, but he’s told me I have to learn it as well. I’ll keep working on it.”
Hopes pinned on Wallace
Peter Wallace is one tough player. Not that he needs to prove that after playing through the pain of a ruptured testicle during a State of Origin game. He had a pin inserted into his hand to repair a knuckle injury a week ago and his coach is expecting him to play this weekend against the Dragons in a match that will make or break Penrith’s top four hopes. “He’ll almost certainly play,” Anthony Griffin said. “He’s just one of those tough competitors. He’s very resilient. He’s got full strength back in his hand and as far as he is concerned he’s playing.”